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Tree or shrub?

Posted by shazoom1 California (My Page) on
Sat, Aug 14, 10 at 15:43

My neighbor has a huge ugly bus that I don't want to see. The local nursery suggested planting "silver sheen". It's in the front and local ordinances
say that hedges can't be over 42", but I can plant trees of any size. That's
the start of my confusion - is silver sheen a tree? In addition, I need to plant
something with non-invasive roots because I have a retaining wall plus water pipes underground very near where the new plantings will be (and electrical wires go 8' or so overhead.) And my soil seems to be nutrient-free clay. Yikes.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Tree or shrub?

Since shrubs can be pruned, shaped to grow as trees I would make sure whatever you decide that the city considers it a tree or get more clarification on their hedge definition.
Sounds like the bus is an eyesore. Check and make sure it is legal for them to leave it there. Some cities doen't allow that...but might not be worth the fight either.
Electrical wire 8 feet above ground? That doesn't sound legal.

RE: Tree or shrub?

  • Posted by jean001 z8aPortland, OR (My Page) on
    Sat, Aug 14, 10 at 18:13

On the contrary, clay isn't nutrient free. What sort of problems are you having that makes you thin is is?

RE: Tree or shrub?

I have three silver sheens planted in my crappy clay soil in a narrow bed alongside a block wall. They don't seem to be picky. Mine are only about 8 feet tall so far, but a neighbor has one that's easily 15 feet tall. (I've never seen any large ones raise concrete or cause problems that way.) There is also a homeowner near me who has sheared them into a hedge about 6 feet high. They seem pretty versatile and able to fit into just about anything you want them to do.

I also have two pittosporum nigricans which I actually prefer to the silver sheens because the leaves are greener, the foliage is a bit denser, and I like the contrast with the dark stems.

RE: Tree or shrub?

Many trees can be grown as a hedge. I feel certain if it performs like a hedge, the city will determine it to be a hedge. I think your nursery was amiss to suggest if it is technically a tree you would be exempt from the law. As far as your property having soil based on a clay it is not a handicap, only an opportunity to create OVER TIME, a wonderful nutrient rich soil. Clay has the ability to retain plant nutrients and only needs the structure improved to help it contain more air and water spaces and help it prevent its tendency to compact. Your soil should at all times be covered with a thick vegetative mulch which will help prevent compaction at the same time its decomposition feeds the worms and other soil organisms which in turn builds the soil structure, so needed. Need I mention it will also help maintain soil moisture. Al

RE: Tree or shrub?

Hi Shazoom,
Please check with the city agency in charge of local ordinances before spending any money, and get their recommendation on specific plants in writing. Bring the Sunset Garden Book with you if necessary and tell them that you just want to be sure that you are not breaking any laws by planting your trees. If you can pull a permit, that's always an option.

Silver Sheens get too big. Mine is taller than my house already.


RE: Tree or shrub?

  • Posted by hoovb z9 Southern CA (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 16, 10 at 2:43

Yes 'Silver Sheen' is a tree, but it isn't very dense, so it doesn't make much of a way to block out the view of a bus.

I second what Renee says, check with the city and get a list of recommendations in writing and save the document because they can tell you something verbally, you plant it, and then they tell you to take it out and deny they ever said what they said.

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